Clerk: No ‘drastic’ changes in city redistricting
Published 11:59 pm Friday, September 16, 2011
District 1 residents are the only ones who will see no changes as the City of Troy undergoes redistricting this year.
Alton Starling, city clerk, said while the redistricting process has been much easier than 10 years ago, recent U.S. Census results still called for shifts in population between four of the districts.
“District 2 had the largest growth and District 5 had the least growth,” Starling said. “So we basically moved part of District 2 – the area around Alumni Hall, sorority housing and near the baseball fields at Troy University – into District 5.”
According to Alabama Code, each district must have about the same population – not necessarily the same number of registered voters. With limits of a 10 percent deviation between districts, the city was challenged with adjusting district lines to meet those population guidelines after the recent Census.
“The optimum number for each district is 3,607,” Starling said. That means in the case of District 2, which saw the greatest growth, some 500 people were “moved” in redistricting. Seventy people switched between Districts 3 and 4. Areas affected in that change include First and Second Avenue, Brundidge Boulevard, Thompson Street, Camellia Street and Mullis Street, among others.
“There are not a lot of drastic changes,” Starling said. “The core of the council members’ districts remained the same.”
In addition to the 10 percent variance restriction, redistricting guidelines state that all district lines must be contiguous, meaning they must stay intact, and compact; no council member may be moved out of a district in the redistricting process; and the new lines cannot dilute minority population percentages in any district.
“Basically District 2 moved easterly, away from Troy University; District 3 moved slightly north and west; District 4 moved slightly west; and District 4 moved westerly toward Troy University.”
Starling said he plans to explain the details of the changes, as well as provide visual maps for residents, at a Sept. 26 public hearing. The hearing begins at 5 p.m. at City Hall.
“I’d just encourage people to come and participate and learn where the district lines will be because it does affect them,” Starling said.
Municipal elections will take place in August 2012, and Starling said the city will send notifications to all registered voters after the March presidential and county primaries detailing their new districts. “I hope to be able to work with Melissa Ingram, registrar of voters, to get these new districts in place before she sends out her voter cards,” he said.